TAMPA, Fla. – Even though the friars have been at Sacred Heart Church here since last July, this Jan. 8 was the day when Bishop Robert Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg was able to come to install Andrew Reitz as the first Franciscan pastor of Sacred Heart Church and officially welcome the friars here. John O’Connor made his first official visit to Sacred Heart and concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Lynch and Andrew. Christopher Cocciawas deacon of the Mass, and Roch Coogan, Barry Langley and Sean O’Brien of the Tampa community and many friars from St. Petersburg joined in the procession and concelebrated the Mass.
Bishop Lynch expressed his gratitude to John O’Connor and the friars for taking over the leadership of Sacred Heart Church. He thanked the four friars by name for coming to Tampa and beginning this new venture.
The church was overflowing with parishioners who said that they had never witnessed an Installation before at this church. Many commented on the presence of so many friars and how they have come to understand how important the fraternity is to the friars. Parish staff members and parish council members were introduced during the ceremony. A reception was held at Sacred Heart Academy, the church’s school, which is located a mile and a half from the church. Although the Installation was later than usual, it was a great day of celebration and community for the parish community of Sacred Heart.